Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sorry for the long absence -- things have been a bit hectic since we returned to Washington Sunday night.

Actually, I said Sunday night, but it was really Monday morning, since Amtrak was eight hours late by the time we arrived. We were scheduled into Tacoma at 7pm, but arrived instead at 3 in the morning. We slept part of the night on the train, and the rest at our old haunt, the La Quinta Inn Tacoma. We got back to the Infinity shop Monday afternoon, but Odyssey had fresh caulk on the roof and they wanted to keep her inside for the night, so we ended up at a motel Monday night as well, and did not pick the pets up from the kennel until Tuesday.

We were not really in any rush, of course, so it was really just an annoyance that we ended up having to both board and disembark our train in the middle of the night (the train was five hours late leaving San Jose, at 1 or so in the morning versus the scheduled 8:30pm). On the plus side, we saw a good bit of scenery that the train normally slips by in darkness. It's also hard to complain too much, since we were traveling on a free ticket, the result of our last Amtrak adventure being 14 hours late, with reduced amenities to boot.

We had a nice visit in San Jose. The entire downtown area was busy gearing up for this weekend's Grand Prix race, a first for San Jose. We are a bit sorry that we had to miss it, since the whole town seems to be a giant party for the weekend. On the other hand, getting around town with so many streets closed off will be something of a zoo.

We spent five nights in the San Jose Hilton (which will be inside the race perimeter this weekend), and found it to be quite pleasant in spite of a few quirks. Those included the world's smallest pool (capacity: 5), the fact that poolside cocktails were delivered in paper coffee cups, since, apparently, the bar/restaurant has no plastic available, and the baby grand piano in the lobby which attracted every half-baked amateur within five miles to wander in and tickle (or mash) the ivories, with that beginner-endlessly-rehearsing sound that is endearing only to parents listening to their children.

Five nights blew out the last of my HHonors points, and we moved to the newer, taller Marriott at the other end of the convention center for two nights (all the Marriott points I had left, as well). I spent both days shuttling back and forth across the convention center to the Hilton, because the Hilton had free high-speed (DS3!) wireless internet access in their lobby, whereas the Marriott wanted ten bucks a day. Oddly, the Hilton also wanted ten buck for access in the guest rooms, even though it was free in the lobby. Go figure. I did have to endure more piano recitals, though.

From the Marriott we again transferred to the Hotel Montgomery for our last night in town. This was a night that we had purchased at a charity auction last year, and included dinner for two, which was quite nice. (In case you missed my post on buying hotel stays at charity auctions, read it here.) The Montgomery is a historic downtown hotel that was moved a hundred feet or so south of its historic location to make room for a giant addition to the ritzy Fairmont Hotel next door. Soon afterwards, the Joie de Vivre hotel chain bought it and renovated it to modern standards in JdV's own boutique-hotel style.

Somewhere in all of this we saw some family and friends, and got several errands handled. We spent Saturday, after checking out of the Montgomery, at the home of our friends Jason and Laura, just in time for their annual Yard Sale, which is something of a block party involving many friends, neighbors, and a good deal of beer. Our friends John and Linda graciously invited us to await our train in their air-conditioned and very comfortable downtown townhome and offered us a lift to the train station. They got a few more hours of us than they bargained for, compliments of Amtrak. We finally took pity on them and went to the station around 10:30.

It's taken us most of the week to get back on top of things here, and I am just now getting caught up. Posts should be a bit more regular now, although I expect the next one will wait until we leave Sumner.

1 comment:

  1. >.<

    we did not get a call?

    I am gonna cry

    well, only a little, xoxo


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